We live in a post-reality world. Think of it. Not even pictures or video footage is proof anymore (and we can blame that entirely on Donald Trump, if you ask me).
However, the platforms which twist and turn reality as it is the most are, I daresay, social media feeds. We live in an era where what you put on display to the outer world is carefully picked and perfected before it ever sees the light, which leaves little room for any sense of reality.
This thought came upon me when I lay in bed, reading a rather average chick-lit novel (don't judge me, we all have our guilty pleasures). In the novel one character (the bookish, nerdy main one) gets judged by her friend (whose sole role is to make sure the main character gets laid in the end) because she uses an unfiltered, "normal" picture on her Twitter account.
This thought having been triggered, I flicked through Facebook today and came upon a Facebook friend's profile (I'm obviously not going to tell you whose it was) where I happen to know that the person you perceive via social media and the person I got to know are entirely different people. Whereas she (alright, it's a she, but I have over a 100 friends (I know, only) and most of them are female, so sue me) displays the perfect image of a funny, witty and outgoing person on social media, she is a rather uncommunicative (bordering impolite), introverted and mostly humourless person when I was around her (probably it was all down to me, of course, but I don't think so).
When I met this person and added her on Facebook, I was always puzzled about the huge discrepancy of her SM-self and her reality-self and started wondering if she wasn't a single case. Probably we all do have out SM-selves and bland, more boring and complex reality-selves which we try to tuck away neatly, so no one can ever behold them.
Pondering about this has made me come to the conclusion that we have become social media schizophrenics. We are, in fact, two people and I know what you are going to argue now: hasn't it always been this way?
Well, sort of. Obviously, people have always had their public and private selves and the phrase "don't wash your dirty laundry in the public" is as old as time; however, due to proximity, you were never entirely bullet-proof from people peeping into your lives, but you can be friends from people all around the world and they will ever only see the perfect display of flawlessness that is your life.
Personally, I perceive this to be a rather dangerous trend. From our personal standpoint we are misled to the conclusion that everyone else's lives are better than our own dull, bland reality. We see endless pictures of smiling people - some on holiday, some out with their besties, allegedly having the time of their lives whereas you sit at home on your sofa, Ben and Jerry's piling up in front of you and the latest Game of Thrones episode playing on the TV and you feel like you have failed epically.
However, bear in mind that any other night this person does not post anything, be assured they will do the very same thing you have been doing the night they had a great time out, allegedly.
It is for obvious reasons why we only share the happy moments, I get that; however, some people really seem to be an entirely different person on social media, almost staging their lives for social media purposes. I cannot tell you how many families I know where the perfect picture is taken, all smiling blissfully while on a great family trip to some fancy museum or nature resort, while in reality the parents are stressed out because of the housework piling up and the children are sick of being dragged around on the weekends when, actually, they would prefer just one weekend where they could just unwind at home, reading a book or playing games.
I see friends on social media whose life seem to be a blast but when I meet them in real life, they disclose to me how completely and utterly desperate, frustrate or depressed they are - and the worst case is that seeing your friends permanently being apparently superior to you doesn't make it easier to understand you're not alone with your sadness, depression or disillusions about the world.
Probably it's time we try to forego our trend of schizophrenia and merge our reality and social media display - or at least refrain from putting the social media reality we have created above the one we actually live and confuse people when they get to meet us in actual life and are sorely disappointed we are not the witty, clever and outgoing selves we claimed to be.
Writer. Editor. Blogger. YouTuber. Freelancer. Traveller. English fanatic.